CBU Lasallian Fellows of the Class of 2019
Nikole Agront Rodriguez (Psychology ’19)
Erin Aulfinger (Creative Writing ’19)
Carlee Darnell (Religious Studies ’19)
Yuri Hayslett (Business Administration/Sport Management & Marketing ’19)
Gabriela Morales Medina (English for Corporate Communications ’19)
Nikole Agront Rodriguez has many admirers across the CBU campus, including CBU students, faculty and staff. Nikole, a Psychology major, has not only been a respected campus leader but is a living example of the ideals of the Christian Brothers’ founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. For example, Nikole has a deep concern for the poor and social justice. After the recent hurricane in Puerto Rico, Nikole—a native Puerto Rican—joined forces with her fellow countrywoman Gabriela Morales Medina in organizing a relief campaign for their homeland. This was an extremely time-consuming task that required a great deal of creativity and determination. In the end, the campaign raised $2,500 and over a ton of supplies to send home. Nikole is also a member of the 2018 September of Service team and brings her recent internship experience with Volunteer Odyssey, a local non-profit agency that connects volunteers with agencies, to benefit our trademark CBU service program.
Nikole certainly believes in the Lasallian principles of inclusive community and respect for all persons. As a President’s Ambassador, Nikole has been a warm and welcoming presence on the CBU campus as she has shared her love of CBU with prospective students from Tennessee, other states, and countries outside of the U.S.
Finally, Nikole’s service and academic activities show her commitment to the Lasallian principle of quality education. Nikole has not only taken her own education seriously as a member and leader of the CBU Honors Program, but has contributed to the education of others as a dedicated volunteer mentor through the STARS (Students Tackling Autism-Related Syndromes) program. This program has allowed her to have a significant impact not only on the on the academic experiences of our STARS students but also their personal experiences. Her gentle and charismatic personality is a wonderful inspiration for the students as they balance the social aspects of college with their academic curricula.
As a servant leader, Nikole Agront Rodriguez continues to have a tremendous impact on the lives of people both inside and outside of our campus community. Clearly this outstanding senior lives the Lasallian ideals and deserves to be named a 2018-2019 CBU Lasallian Fellow.
Erin Aulfinger, a Creative Writing major with a Global Studies minor, is a social entrepreneur and change maker with a passion for writing and a heart for doing good.
After experiencing symptoms for much of her life, Erin was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 14. She subsequently spent a lot of time at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and soon started a blog to help other children better understand and cope with their epilepsy diagnosis. Because of her positive experiences with LeBonheur, Erin has been committed to raising awareness and funds for the hospital. One of the ways Erin helps LeBonheur is through her online shop, Big Cute Theory, where she sells original t-shirts and other gift items to benefit the hospital and other charities, such as the MidSouth Food Bank.
Erin also manages Erin’s Crocheted Creations. She attends local festivals and sells handmade crocheted goods. Proceeds are donated to non-profits, such as those supporting breast cancer awareness, kindness initiatives, and (of course) LeBonheur. In these and other ways, Erin has raised over $10,000 for LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
Erin uses her excellent writing, communication, and entrepreneurial skills to benefit people in other ways as well. In high school, she was a contributor to Teen Appeal, submitting seven articles on topics ranging from the SIMS videogame to a high school course that had students care for eggs in order to teach about good parenting. More recently she has published three of her own original works on Wattpad. Additionally, for many years she has been a Facebook administrator for several creative fandoms and pages that support people with anxiety and disabilities. Erin also volunteers with several organizations, and notably has served the past ten Thanksgivings with Westy’s restaurant, which feeds over a thousand homeless people each holiday.
Erin Aulfinger is an excellent communicator with a “get it done” attitude, which benefits her many communities at CBU—including Greek Life, Honors, STARS, and the CBU Writing and Communications Corner, for which she is a Writing Consultant. She is most deserving of being named a 2018-2019 CBU Lasallian Fellow.
Carlee Darnell is a go-getter! Carlee, a Religion & Philosophy major from Little Rock, came to CBU four short years ago and has been changing the campus ever since. Her first goal was to help improve Campus Ministry in order to bolster the Catholic identity of CBU. Carlee has done this by spearheading the revitalization of the Catholic Student Association, which has gone on to win CBU’s “New Student Organization” and “Most Improved Student Organization” awards. The group has new life, its meetings and activities are well attended, and it has excellent cooperation with other groups, such as TLC, the non-denominational Christian fellowship group on campus.
In addition to Carlee’s passion for Campus Ministry and providing CBU’s Catholic students with an even greater feeling of home on our campus, she has been integral in other organizations as well. Carlee has been a President’s Ambassador and has served as a CARL for summer orientation sessions. She served as a Lasallian Collegian for the Lasallian Youth Gathering in 2016, providing her technical and artistic abilities to photograph the event and create a summary video. She is also the videographer and photographer for the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock Youth Ministry. Carlee has also served on the SGA Student Activities Council, managed the CBU Softball team, was a member of the CBU Honors Program Board of Directors, and was the Historian Reporter for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha.
In the spring of 2018, Carlee interned with St. Louis Catholic Church for course credit, one of very few Religion & Philosophy students to do so. At St. Louis, she created activities and curricula for the spring youth events. She also used her artistic abilities by designing graphics for their Lenten series.
Carlee Darnell is a “doer,” a changemaker, and the embodiment of the Lasallian spirit. Her work on and off campus, in and out of Memphis, has inspired many and spread the mission of our Founder. She has earned the honor of being a 2018-2019 CBU Lasallian Fellow.
Yuri Hayslett exemplifies what a Lasallian Fellow is. Yuri, a Business Administration major with concentrations in Sport Management and Marketing, is a leader, servant, and changemaker. Moreover, she does not hesitate to speak up and take action when she sees the need to do so, even when it might be easier to remain silent.
Yuri has taken on leadership roles in two campus organizations. As president of the Black Student Association (BSA), she initiated new activities for the organization, such as educational events for Black History Month. Under Yuri’s leadership, the BSA was recognized last year by Student Life as “Student Organization of the Year” and “Campus Program of the Year.” In addition, Yuri has served as chair of the CBU student chapter of the NAACP.
Yuri emphasizes being of service to others, both at CBU and in the community. At CBU, she is a President’s Ambassador and a Resident Assistant, as well as a member of Career Services’ Student Advisory Board. In the community, Yuri works with several organizations, such as the Juvenile Youth Court program, the Lester Community Center, and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, whose focus is on children in need. Another example of Yuri’s passion for leadership is with September of Service (SOS). Yuri has been an SOS team member for two years, and this year will serve as the student leader for the entire program.
Yuri does not hesitate to speak up and take a stand when it is needed. One example of this is best described by one of her nominators: Yuri has proven she can maintain a sense of “calmness” during challenging situations. She initiated a Town Hall Meeting for the CBU campus community as a result of a racially-charged incident that occurred on campus. Her leadership in initiating this event diffused many of the frustrating emotions experienced by students and provided a forum for faculty, staff, and students to come together to discuss the incident and resolutions.
Yuri Hayslett is a respected CBU leader, and her dedication to her campus and community demonstrate that she is truly deserving of being named a 2018-2019 CBU Lasallian Fellow.
Gabriela Morales Medina, an English for Corporate Communications major with minors in Political Science and Global Studies, is the final member of the 2018-2019 CBU Lasallian Fellows cohort. Gabi chose the corner of Central and East Parkway for her collegiate experience after attending a Brothers’ school back home in Puerto Rico. Since arriving in fall 2015, Gabi has immersed herself in the campus community — serving as a Resident Assistant, President of the Honors Program, a member of Voices United, a panelist on race relations for one of CBU’s events for the MLK 50th Anniversary; and acting editor of the re-launched Galleon, CBU’s digital magazine.
For the last two years, Gabi has served as a Resident Assistant for first-year students in the Living Learning Center. Their transition to college often brings trepidation and uncertainty, but Gabi was the perfect candidate to accompany them. Having never met a stranger, Gabi quickly became the “floor mom,” dedicating her time and energy to ensuring a personalized, quality experience for all her residents. While the responsibilities of the Resident Assistant can sometimes be challenging, Gabi proceeded with dignity and fairness — qualities of a true Lasallian.
The CBU Honors Program is one of the most respected campus organizations, boasting one of the most active programming schedules at the University. It is no surprise then, that Gabi was chosen to lead the organization for the 2017- 2018 academic year. From meeting regularly with the program administrator, to leading Honors Board of Directors and Program meetings, and everything in between, Gabi was masterful in balancing the personal and professional demands of each position.
When Puerto Rico was devastated by a natural disaster in the latter part of 2017, Gabi and fellow awardee Nikole Agront Rodriguez spearheaded a donation drive, sending over a ton of food and clothes to alleviate the distress. From its inception to its conclusion, Gabi was instrumental in working with faculty, staff, and students to solicit the donations and engage external vendors to confirm their safe arrival to the island.
Our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, once wrote “Inspire and lead others by encouraging them.” Through her many experiences, Gabriela Morales-Medina has inspired countless peers and continually exudes an undeniable commitment to Christian Brothers University. She is entirely deserving of being named a 2018-2019 CBU Lasallian Fellow.